|NEXT MEETING: Saturday, March 27, 2004
Main Library, Houma, LA 1:00 p.m.
Dear Reader: This is a plea for help. Perhaps together
we can resolve a dilemma which seems to be the undoing of years of
hard work. Let me explain. As long as we have been a society, one of our
main goals has been to build up the collection of genealogy books in the
Terrebonne Parish Public Library System. We produce some of the finest
books available to researchers with an interest in the South Louisiana
area, we sell them for a little over what it takes to publish them, and
any profit we make is used to buy books, microfilm and equipment for the
use of the patrons of the Terrebonne Parish Library. This method was working
fine for twenty years or so. At first, the materials were housed in the
Main Library building which was bursting at the seams. To relieve the situation,
the collection was moved to a small neighborhood branch library (North
Branch). It was on a major state highway not far from U.S. highway 90,
easily accessed by visitors from all over. Midway between Houma and Thibodaux,
it was convenient to most of our local members.
Then the voters of Terrebonne Parish
voted for an increase in taxes (!) so that the library would be funded
more in keeping with the services it was providing. Lo and behold, a big,
beautiful, new library was built. We now have our own Genealogy Department
with all sorts of amenities: a special room for the microfilm readers,
an office for the Reference Librarian, and beautiful designer shelves for
our comprehensive collection of books. But we are beginning to hear complaints
from patrons of the Genealogy Department. Our great collection seems to
be daunting to the new Librarians On Duty. So much so that when asked for
help, the response from an L.O.D may sometimes be anything from “I don’t
have time to help you, I’m scheduled to work in another area in a few minutes.”
to “I’m not qualified to help you. I’m just a Reference Librarian.” When
we approach the head of the library system, we are told that there is no
provision in the budget for a full-time Genealogy Department Librarian.
OK, maybe we’re spoiled. From the earliest
days of the existence of the society, we have had our own librarian. With
librarian training, she was also an avid genealogist. When computers came
in, she saw their potential and was willing to learn about them, even though
she was getting ready to retire. When she did retire, she volunteered at
the library one day a week to help others find their way around the collection.
She was one of the guiding lights of our society, having helped to get
it started and always interested in its affairs. Dorotha Horvath is gone
to a better place, now, and we miss her. Be that as it may, we have to
solve the present problem.
That’s why I am appealing to you, our members,
for help. We don’t want our new Genealogy Department to die from neglect,
but we can see the writing on the wall. If a person who has never done
any genealogical research comes in and asks for help to get started, what
is she or he going to hear? “Let’s go on the internet.” “Here is the computer,
let’s look it up in the online card catalog.” “Tell me the book you want
and I can help you find it.”
What is being done in other libraries? Some
genealogy societies have their own library, separate from the public library
system. Some public libraries have one or more certified librarian-genealogists
on duty at all times. Some societies have volunteers to take one or more
days a week to work in the library. What is your advice? Please mail or
email us (Jess or Ed) your suggestions and/or experiences in other libraries.
We are ready for your input.
Now don’t get me wrong. We have a wonderful
library and a most helpful staff, as evidenced by their being awarded the
coveted title of Louisiana Public Library of the Year. Board Chairman
Charles Davidson was also noted as trustee of the year. The award recognizes
public libraries that have shown innovation, achievement and outstanding
community service. A panel of librarians from The Louisiana Library Association
judged public libraries from across the state comparing the libraries’
services, statistics and human resources for the last three years. If you
want to read the complete article, it was published on March 7, 2004, and
is available at the Houma Courier’s website, here: <<http://www.houmatoday.com>>
I am only concerned with our beautiful Genealogy Room.
DEATHS: Our sympathies go out to Board Member Louis Duet and
his wife Sharon, in the death of her mother, Laura Maronge Ayo, on March
5, 2004; a native and resident of Thibodaux, LA. She is survived by two
sons, Scott Ayo and wife Tammy, and Stuart Ayo and wife Kristie; four daughters,
Sheryl Zeringue and husband Robert, Sharon Duet and husband Louis, Sue
Adams and husband Cecil, and Sally Tardiff; two sisters, Vivian Landry
and Grace Benoit; 14 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul O. Ayo; her parents, Philip
and Elizabeth Toups Maronge Sr.; one granddaughter, Stephanie Tardiff;
and two brothers, Philip Jr. and William “Bill” Maronge.
Please remember in your prayers charter member (and lifetime
member) Ruby Pennison (Babin) Gabriel, whose son, Gary Babin, died on March
6, 2004. A native and resident of Houma, he was a parishioner of St. Bernadette
Catholic Church. He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Louis Gabriel;
three sons, Brian M., Lee M., and Lane H. Babin; one daughter, Brie M.
Babin; two sisters, Meryl B. Romano and Mary B. St. Germain; his grandmother,
Elodie Louviere Pennison; and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death
by his father, Henry J. Babin; one son, Gary M. Babin Jr.; and his grandparents,
Arthur Pennison, Claude Babin and Mathilda Chauvin Babin.
Also, our Corresponding Secretary, Jess Bergeron Jr. lost his
father on Sunday, February 29, 2004, after a long illness. He was a resident
of Church Point, LA, and a veteran of the U.S. Army. Survivors include
his wife, Ethel Fruge Bergeron of Prairie Ronde; two sons, Jess Bergeron
Jr. and his wife, Dorothy Matte, of Houma, and Rodney Bergeron and his
wife Beryl Fontenot, of Prairie Ronde; two stepdaughters, Ella Rose Chatman
and her husband, David, of Big Cane and Sandra Thibodeaux and her husband,
A.J., of Dupont; a stepson, Chris Turner of Baton Rouge; five grandchildren;
four great-grandchildren; nine step grandchildren; and 18 step great-grandchildren.
Mr. Bergeron was preceded in death by his first wife, Verna Comeaux Bergeron;
his parents, Jean Baptiste Bergeron and Laura Thibodeaux; three brothers,
William Preston, Warner Paul and John Rodney Bergeron; and a stepson, Herman
We were saddened to hear of the loss suffered by member Claire
Olivier Porretto in the death of her sister, Marguerite Olivier. Marguerite,
native of Franklin, LA, and resident of Houma, died on Monday, March 8,
2004. Claire, her husband Frank, and their family are her only survivors.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dozillian J. And Isabelle Becnel
Olivier; and three brothers, Daniel J., Thomas C. and Julian A. Olivier.
She was a retired registered nurse.
BYE-BYE: We have to say good-bye now if this is your last newsletter.
Check your address label for the notation EX2004 and if you find it, well,
what can I say? You blew it. This is the year 2004 and you have an expired
membership. We are sending this newsletter especially to remind those of
you that thought you had mailed us your dues. You forgot. Well, it is not
too late. We are giving you a “grace period.” Now, for individual memberships,
send us $25; for family or contributing memberships, $30; or for libraries,
$22. Send it now. You won’t get another reminder from us.
WRECKING BALL: Got a brick wall? Have we got a book for you!
It is the Assumption Parish Marriages 1906 - 1917: Courthouse Marriages,
Napoleonville, LA, and it is full of information. Marcie L. and Essie Cavalier
worked long and hard to find all the married couples in Assumption Parish
during those years, and they found a bunch. I just recently was made aware
of the fact that many married couples moved south to raise their families.
Maybe they were unhappy or just wanted to go someplace different, but they
moved “down the bayou.” You would be surprised at how often that scenario
played out in different families. Maybe you have seen the previous volume
with the years 1918 - 1926; this is a companion volume. It is formatted
in alphabetical order by name of bride or groom, with a soft cover and
Velo binding. Check it out. Take advantage of our pre-publication offer.
N.G.S. CONFERENCE: Yep, the National Genealogical Society is
having their seminar 19-22 May 2004, and is it a whopper! It is called
the NGS Conference in the States, and will be held in Sacramento, California.
I don’t have time or space to go into the whole program. Get your own brochure.
There are some available at the Genealogy Department of the Terrebonne
Parish Main Library, Houma, LA, and you can write 2004 NGS Conference,
4527 17th St. North, Arlington, VA 22207-2399 or register online: <<http://www.ngsgenealogy.org>>
and hurry, seating is limited for some events. Just a few names: Keynote
speaker, Dr. Tukufu Zuberi from PBS’s History Detectives, Elizabeth Shown
Mills, CG, CGI, FNGS, FASG, Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS, CGI, Michael
J. Leclerc, Pamela Boyer Porter, CGRS, CGI, to name just a few. Very impressive
lineup. Can I hitch a ride with anyone? I can help drive.
LEGENDS LIVE FOREVER: That’s what the title of the Conference
for the Nation’s Genealogists is for 2004. Sponsored by the Federation
of Genealogical Societies (FGS), it is being held in Austin, Texas, on
September 8-11 of 2004. You will be able to hear Elizabeth, Claire, Pamela
and Michael, but Tukufu has other plans. Our own Judy Riffel (They have
“Riffe” but I’m sure it is a typo.) will discuss Identifying the Last Slaveowner
and Marjorie Sholes-Higgins will cover “SCOTT” Louisiana Case Study subtitled
how to research your ancestor who was a slave and who were the slave owners.
DOROTHA’S LEGACY: Dorotha Horvath left her genealogical materials
to the Terrebonne Parish Library, and they contained a complete set (or
almost complete) of the KIDD FAMILY NEWSLETTER which the society has had
bound and has submitted to the library for processing. Look for them on
the shelves soon.
TOBACCO IN TERREBONNE? No one at the February meeting had ever
heard of a tobacco plantation in Terrebonne Parish in 1910 or thereabouts,
but if you have, please let us know. The owners surname is not known, but
their given names were Charles and Elizabeth, if that helps.
OCCUPATIONS: Our esteemed publisher and editor of our quarterly,
Audrey Barnes Westerman, did a fine job of discussing the Early Settlers
of Lower Lafourche and Their Occupations at the Louisiana Heritage Day
on Sunday, March 14, 2004. You should have been there. We had lots of good
food, music, dancing, and havin’ a good time. Next time.
COMPUTER CORNER: Some websites that have been recommended: Stanley
LeBlanc does an excellent job with the Cajun - Acadian website
If the subject of slavery and escape from slavery holds any fascination
for you, you have to see the following website. Patty (Whitney-Gravois)
says that there is a movie associated with the website with the title Whispers
of Angels but I haven’t seen it.
QUERIES, QUERIES, QUERIES: You know you have some problem families
— you know the ones: what was the wife’s maiden name? when did they get
married, and where? are the two Josephs father and son? Send it to us for
publication in the quarterly. It is not the fastest way to get information,
but it is usually reliable because you are getting it from a fellow genealogist.
You know that information from the internet is often worth exactly
what you pay for it.